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The Recruiters Guide to Social Media Strategies

Smart social media recruitment strategies aren’t just about shareable infographics and snappy hashtags.

Like all recruitment campaigns, there’s the small matter of finding quality clients who’ll stick with you for the long-term, and candidates who’ll stick with them. And that takes some serious planning.

Social media is a battleground where agencies fight for attention, so you need to stand out. It’s an opportunity to find your next dream recruit, but how do you turn that theory into a real-life client?

First, you need to set out what and who you need as objectives.

Use Buyer Personas To Find Better Quality Candidates

The number one rule for any agency hoping to find candidates online, and shockingly, it’s not about what’s on your advert. It’s about who you’re looking for.

What would you deem to be the best asset for your business right now? We’re only asking because you’d be surprised - shocked, in fact - at the number of recruiters who struggle to find quality candidates online, only to realise that their match is wrong.

Why? Because they hadn’t figured out who they might be in the first place.

Finding out what your objectives are and what your client wants in a new recruit is an involved process, but taking the time to set out your goals and build buyer personas will save you time. Trust us.

Setting Recruitment Objectives That Work

Objective 1: Figure Out Who & What You Want

Are you searching for raw talent? Are you looking for candidates with particular skills or industry knowledge? Or is it far more important for newcomers to gel with your team?

Knowing you need more staff isn’t strong enough. Think about what you need them to bring to your business and what you’ll be able to offer them in return.

That way you’ll save yourself the agony of re-starting the recruitment process when you find out none of your shortlisted candidates have what it takes.

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Objective 2: Reducing New Hire Failure Rates

Your second objective should focus on reducing new hire failure rates right from the get-go. Every smart social media recruitment strategy relies on the strength of the candidates to respond to your ads and posts.

Unfortunately, about 46% of all new hires quit or are let go within 18 months of getting hired. To hike up the likelihood of these chosen individuals getting through the hiring process and then staying and enjoying their role for 18 months or longer, make sure you:

  1. Build information about your candidates’ career goals from your buyer personas
  2. Create job adverts that will attract individuals who fit the persona
  3. Place those carefully-created adverts on social media platforms where those personas are more likely to be
  4. Create client case studies that show how happy they are with the recruits you’ve given them

Objective 3: Keep In Touch & Keep Things Moving

Using social media for your recruitment agency means your applicants will expect a more direct line of communication with you and instant answers to their questions.

This objective is essential to securing success, because will it give you the ability to meet your candidate’s expectations, and it’ll help you keep hold of them too.

One of the main reasons strong candidates leave the room before they’re presented with a solid offer is how long it takes for you to select and screen.

The recruitment process is lengthy, and for any number of reasons from internal staff absences to changes in priority, it can be difficult to keep control. That’s not enticing to your candidates

If you can’t be fast, plan to be transparent. Make sure there are checkpoints at every stage to keep them involved.

Tell your applicants how long they could expect to wait for a decision, and update them as soon as possible if this timescale changes. Keeping in touch is one of the only ways you’ll be able to keep your quality candidates interested, and social media is one way of doing this.

Implement SMART Goals to Help You Stay On Track

Behind every great social media recruitment strategy is a list of SMART goals. They work in every situation.

smart goals

Take a look at Recruit Loop’s breakdown:

  • Specific: Define the goal you want to accomplish and why
  • Measurable: Be able to quantify the goal
  • Achievable: Determine if you can achieve the goal
  • Reasonable: See if the goal is worth your time
  • Time-based: Establish a timeframe for reaching the goal

It makes sense, doesn't it? By using SMART goals, you can plan how you’ll achieve your aims alongside setting out what you want to achieve. Without them, you run the risk of making your objectives too abstract or derailing after the slightest challenge.

Recruit Loop’s example helps lay out how to use SMART goals as an integral part of your smart social media recruitment strategies:

  • Specific: Make 11 placements this year from social media
  • Measurable: 10% increase
  • Achievable: Yes—one study found that 56.4% of recruiters make 11 or more placements a year
  • Reasonable: Yes—will increase salary
  • Time-based: 1 year to achieve the goal

Answering these base questions show that the goal (making 11 placements in a 12 month period) is achievable and appropriate, setting everyone up for a win before you get going. Now that’s motivational!

FREE Smart Goals for Marketing Template

• Clearly define what your ultimate end marketing goal is
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• Define achievable deadlines for meeting your annual or quarterly goals


What Strategy Should You Use?

Now you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to think about the strategy you’re going to use to bring in all that business.

Your next task is to get to know each social media network inside out, so you can plan out the resources and budget you’ll need.

The easiest way to start is to begin researching where your current hires have come from, and ask your current team where they head to for professional online networking.

It’s likely that this will give you a list headed by LinkedIn and Facebook groups, but it’s important not to discount any smaller inclusions. Even a well-attended WhatsApp group can be valuable.

Then it’s time to profile your ideal candidates. Try to match their specialisms and interests with where they might congregate online.

Are you looking for graphic designers or creative content experts? They might prefer Instagram to Twitter. Are you hiring a new HR Manager? They might spend more time on a local breakfast networking group on Facebook than the platform itself.

Once you’ve built up a list of relevant social media platforms, figure out what they offer. What advertising can be used and how much does it cost? How can use make the most of its free features?

Then go into overdrive and snoop on your competitors. How do they use these platforms to recruit? Are there any tips you can take from them? Are they showing you what not to do?

top tip

Becoming an active member of these platforms will help you see the value in everyday features other recruiters will overlook.

For a great example, head to Instagram and take a look at the “Stories” function. Imagine what you could share on there, it’s the place to show your company culture. And it’s all free. Or snoop on competitors Facebook pages. Do they have a CTA to their job openings in the Facebook cover photo?

Finally, research companies you admire and figure out their social media recruitment strategy. How are they gaining engagement from potential applicants? And how could you replicate that using your brand identity?

Which Content Should You Use?

The big question. Once you’ve laid out your grand plans for the social media platforms you’re going to use to dominate the recruitment world and smash your targets, you need to approach the most time-consuming task: deciding which content to use, and then creating it.

In our post about using social media for recruitment agencies, we looked in detail at the types of platforms and channels you should use to get the most out of your smart social media recruitment strategy. Then we spent some time discussing the types of content to create to get candidates hitting that “apply” button.


Blog, Video or Image?

Taking a look at your analytics can reveal much more than how many visitors you receive on any given day. Drill down a little further, and you’ll start discovering what your visitors prefer to see, and what gets them clicking.

First of all, ask yourself this question: do you usually have to work hard to get anything back from your followers?

If your answer is no, brilliant. Using a simple but effective image or video-based campaign could work well for you on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Posing a thought-provoking question about careers or finding new opportunities on a relevant LinkedIn group could spark a great conversation resulting in some excellent candidates.

If your answer is yes, you need to get creative and look for ways to grab your followers’ attention. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Look through the emails sent to your info and recruitment contact forms. What do people want to know?
  • Which posts get the most engagement?
  • How can you refresh and reuse previously successful posts?
  • Which of your website’s pages get the most traffic? Can you use that content as part of your campaign?
  • How are your competitors reeling in likes and shares?
  • How are top brands generating content and why are their followers hooked?

Read: Workable’s article on social media recruitment strategy has a great section on examples of some of the best social media recruitment campaigns, from global companies like McDonald’s on Snapchat to L’Oréal on Facebook.

Do You Get More From Your Site Than You Do From Social Media?

Some projects work better as a stand-alone social media campaign. When it comes to recruitment though, you might find that people are much more likely to move through your website to snoop around.

Your success will depend on the following factors:

  • Do your adverts give the applicant have all the info they need to apply?
  • Are you aiming to drag visitors to your site or are you trying to get them to apply immediately after seeing your social media ad or post?
  • How does your web content stand up to your fresh new social media campaign?
  • How easy are you making the application process to complete?

A big area of content development that gets overlooked is analysing what’s on your website.

No matter whether you link directly to your site or not, the keenest jobseekers are going to visit your website for a closer look at your agency. Is your website ready for them?

If you don’t have time to clean it up, concentrate on the main points of contact instead - your about page, contact page and your homepage as a minimum.


The Truth About Video

Everyone'll tell you to use video. “Social media is all about video these days” they’ll say.

The truth is, if you’re not sure what you need to make a video about, you shouldn’t make one. The one thing worse than not having any video content is having weak video content.

Before you begin creating any content, you need to know what the point of it is. What are you making it for? What message will it deliver? Why will your followers care about it? More importantly: why would they share it among their connections?

Videos don’t need high production values, but they do need clear direction. Pay over-the-odds for drone footage and elegant post-production if you like, but if the content is dull, scattered or has no overarching call to action (CTA), it will flop. So be SMART about it!

Analyse Your Data As You Go

You won’t know how close you are to hitting your targets if you don’t analyse your data as you go. There should be analysis checkpoints in your social media recruitment strategy, where you can pull over and look back on where you’ve achieved, and where you need to double-back.

An analysis is your only opportunity to prove that your strategy is working, and it’s also the only definitive way to find out where candidates are slipping through the net before your campaign ends.

Using Social Media Analytics Tools

If your social media recruitment strategy is based on any of the major social media platforms, you can HubSpot’s native analytics dashboards to gather vital data on the success of your posts and adverts.

What you’re looking for is engagement, how far and wide they’re being shared, the reach of each post and how your investment stacks up against the number of quality applications generated.

Using Website Analytics

Taking a closer look at your website’s analytics dashboard, particularly at the referrals sections, will give you inside info on how people are visiting your site and why.

Hopefully, you’ll see spikes when your social media posts and ads go out, as well as on pages you’ve been directing readers to via relevant blog posts and discussions as part of your campaign.

How Do We Analyse What We’ve Done & Plan For The Future?

You’ve run to completion, and you think you’ve done well. How do you bring your results to the boardroom and prove that social media was the right way to reach out to your ideal clients and candidates.

Analytics. Always analytics.

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Using Analytics Tools

It might be about university recruitment, but Higher Education Marketing have written a mind-expanding piece on post-campaign analysis that can be directly transposed to social media recruitment in other sectors too.

In it, they talk about powerful tools like Moz and using them to evaluate whether rankings have improved for targeted keywords and to look at metrics like social shares for specific posts. This will give you an idea of how engaging your audience finds your content.

They say: “Using these key performance indicators (KPIs), you can pinpoint content that was effective and compelling, and posts which weren’t, and use this information to plan your content strategy in the future.”


Google Analytics has a tool called “Channel Report” which is easy to use and helps you to see which channels are driving traffic to your website (or more specifically, to the pages your posts and adverts directed users to.)

You can general Google Analytics reports for specific channels too, to show trends over time and show what worked and what could use improvement in future iterations.

It will also be vital to track and report on the click-through rate (CTR) from other sources, as this can point towards how your campaign has broadly affected and influenced traffic from other areas of the internet.

If you’re using marketing automation or a CRM platform like HubSpot, built-in and native data gathering tools will be able to uncover data you didn’t even know existed, making light work of the reporting and evaluation process.

Using native analytics on social media is much more advanced than it used to be, and there are loads of ways to manipulate the data you find to help create your reports and final analysis. Think about using the following data to bring life into your evaluation:

  • Engagement metrics like reactions and comments
  • Increase in the number of followers/fans
  • Popularity and growth of interest in topics set by you during your recruitment strategy
  • The percentage and comparison of different types of content being viewed and shared
  • Your post reach

Time To Get Started

Now you’ve looked into the specifics of creating a social media recruitment strategy, the only thing left to do is to get your team together and kick it all off.

Create a focus group together and start looking at your objectives, and use this post as a step-by-step guide throughout your campaign.

Move through each point and remember - not every campaign runs smoothly the first time around. The beauty of social media recruitment is that every post and advert you let loose into the world can be amended, adapted or simply deleted in real time, giving you ultimate control.

If something isn’t gathering the numbers you expected, use analytics to find out why. If a discussion generates way more interest than you’d anticipated, get together and think of ways you can exploit that across all your other platforms. Edit and amend your strategy as you go, finding what works and building on it.

Social media can be daunting if you’ve never used it for recruitment before, but it’s that flexibility that makes it so powerful. Give yourself the time to respond to your audience, and you’ll build a social media recruitment strategy that keeps on giving.

Additional resource: Understanding how to optimise your digital assets for facebook

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Pro tip: Use a social media content calendar to keep your social content organized

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